This is a guest post by Naveen Narayan, who has worked as a contact center project consultant for 12 years. He currently resides in the northwest, loves open source software, and gets pretty close to being a professional photographer.
We are spending more time online doing all sorts of things from paying bills to managing routing transactions in real time. In some ways, the emergence of social media is the latest crescendo. Facebook was recently named the most innovative application. Google has made search ubiquitous. Windows has made the PC and the Internet pervasive. IVRs, on the other hand, have existed for more than 20 years. Yet even today we are still researching the trends in IVR usage…
IVR usage is different in different age groups:
1. Older population likes to talk to a “warm body”
2. Some groups prefer self-service over a telephone
3. Younger people show a strong preference towards online channels for customer support
Studying further of the underlying trends show that:
1. A stronger and more converged network creates grounds for stronger applications which in turn attracts a larger user base away from the telephone — that creates a higher demand for bandwidth and the cycle repeats.
2. In effect, if more people move towards the Internet to resolve issues that they could otherwise have resolved over the phone, why do we need to invest anything more than what we already have into voice infrastructure?
3. Land line phones are heading towards extinction — as cell phone and smartphone users increase each day.
4. Not only are people spending more time online, they are doing so in more ways than one — as the lush market for smartphones clearly demonstrates.
Given the trend of development and growth, as web applications mature more, and as businesses drive toward increased cost cutting, and as the older population “ages out,” will the IVR eventually die? And how much time does it have — given that the ubiquitous Internet has existed for less than three decades, VoIP is about five years old, and the PC itself is just a tad bit more than three decades old?